Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New agreement could mean end is near for Honduras crisis

Word from Honduras that an agreement has been reached to allow former President Manuel Zelaya to leave the country bodes well for a negotiated end to a constitutional crisis that has poisoned relations with most of the rest of the world. Honduras' new president-elect, Porfirio Lobo, and the president of the Dominican Republic, Leonel Fernandez, signed the pact Wednesday, and Zelaya said it was "a good gesture" and that he would study it, according to the New York Times. Zelaya has been holed up in the Brazil's embassy in Tegucigalpa, the Honduran capital, since September, when he snuck back into the country after being ousted by military leaders fearful of his growing alliance with leftist South American leaders such as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Most countries, including the United States, demanded Zelaya's return to office but military leaders refused, even as former allies suspended aid to Honduras, one of Latin America's poorest countries. But Zelaya's term has since expired, and Lobo is now trying to improve the country's international standing, the Times said. He is scheduled to be sworn in on Jan. 27. Under the agreement, Zelaya would be free to leave Honduras with no restrictions and a long list of charges leveled by the interim government would be dropped, the Times said.

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